PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP)Coach Steve Addazio needed a response from Boston College after being embarrassed last week and his offense line, and running back AJ Dillon gave it to him in one of those early must-win games.
Dillon ran for 150 yards and two touchdowns and Boston College bounced back from a horrible 24-point loss to Kansas and beat Rutgers 30-16 on Saturday.
”I feel a lot better today from the standpoint that we responded. That’s a growing thing,” said Addazio, whose team was a 21-point favorite a week ago. ”That’s a thing that you have to grow in football. You got to get punched in the face – when you get punched in the face you got to be able to learn how to respond.”
Boston College (3-1) did on a day almost 20 players and coaches returned to New Jersey.
Local product Anthony Brown scored on a quarterback sneak and running back David Bailey tallied on a career-long 42-yard run as the Eagles ground out 272 yards in handing Rutgers (1-2) its second straight loss.
”After last week, obviously came off disappointing loss,” said Dillon, who scored on second-half runs of 1 and 4 yards. ”We had to look within and I don’t want to be over theoretical or anything like that, but we had to take a step back and realize what was important to us.”
The important thing was hanging together and playing tough. The Eagles did it on both sides of the ball.
The win was Boston’s College’s 11th straight over the Scarlet Knights, and it extended its unbeaten streak against them to 14 games (13-0-1). This was the first game between the two founding members of the Big East Conference since 2004. The Eagles left the following year to join the ACC. Rutgers joined the Big Ten in 2014.
Aaron Boumerhi kicked a 37-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to give the Eagles a 17-13 lead. Dillon scored from a yard out on Boston’s College’s next offensive series to cap a 13-play, 82-yard drive on which he ran eight times for 44 yards. The junior added a 4-yard TD run with 6:32 to play, his 30th career rushing touchdown.
Art Sitkowski, who started at quarterback with McLane Carter out with a concussion, connected with halfback Raheem Blackshear on a short first-quarter swing pass for a 74-yard scoring play. Justin Davidovicz kicked field goal of 23, 28 and 50 yards for Rutgers, which is coming off a 1-11 season.
”I’m just trying to work like heck to get our football team to play better on Saturdays is about what my concern is,” said Rutgers coach Chris Ash, who is 8-31 since taking over in 2016.
When asked if he was worried about keeping his job, Ash focused elsewhere.
”No. I’m worried about our football team,” he said.
Davidovicz’s short field goal gave the Scarlet Knights a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter, but Brown scored from a yard out with 9:48 left in the half, shortly after Medhi El Attrach recovered a Blackshear fumble at the Rutgers 12.
Boston College never lost the lead, although Rutgers was within 17-13 at the half and got the ball to start the final 30 minutes.
Boston College: Playing its first road game, the Eagles needed this one after being ripped 48-24 by Kansas, a program known as one of the worst Power Five teams. Boston College had been a 21-point favorite. It was the Eagles first road win over a Big Ten opponent since 2003 against Penn State.
Rutgers: Sitkowski, who struggled starting as a true freshman, played especially well in fillingin for Carter, a graduate transfer from Texas Tech. Sitkowski was 23 of 33 for career best 304 yards. He had a late interception trying to force a play. ”I thought I played well,” he said. ”I distributed the football. I extended plays. I have to do better in the red zone and score more points.” He refused to speculate on his role next week.
Rutgers center Mike Maietti had an interesting congratulatory reward for Sitkowski after his long touchdown pass play. He ran up to the quarterback and seemed to punch him in the helmet.
The media asked to talk to Maietti after the game but he did not come to the room for post-game comments.
Sitkowski seemed shocked the play was trending.
”I don’t even remember what happened,” Sitkowski said. ”I don’t remember. I guess I’ll see it later.
Rutgers Adam Korsak, the former Australian rules football player, had another monster game. He punted five times, averaged 44.2 yards and put every one inside the 20, including four between the 5- and 10-yard lines.
Boston College: plays host to ACC foe Wake Forest next Saturday, Sept. 28.
Rutgers: back in Big Ten next Saturday, Sept. 28, at Michigan.